Elantris was built on magic and it thrived. But then the magic began to fade and Elantris began to rot. And now its shattered citizens face domination by a powerful Imperium motivated by dogged religious views. Can a young Princess unite the people of Elantris, rediscover the lost magic and lead a rebellion against the imperial zealots?
Review: (Video review)
The corroded city of Elantris that once was filled with beautiful people, impressive buildings and extraordinary magic, is now filled with cursed souls wondering the world as dead. But there is one thing that isn’t dead and that is the knowledge of the magic system that once brought invincible life for the city’s people. This book tells the tale of an empathising crown prince and an ambitious princess as they both fight for their people. A long-distance relationship, built up by letters, turns into a powerful connection between the betrothed couple. Even in the afterlife, their connection is strong enough that it enables them to be back together. A romantic relationship merely built on dreams and hopes turns out to be the strongest link to the salvation of the poor and the needy.
I enjoyed reading this story mostly because of this fragile yet limitless romance and due to the book’s detailed world building and its distinct characters with lands, language and mannerisms that are original to the Brandon Sanderson’s brand.
Message & Moral
Love conquers all, good overthrows evil and the insincere people are exposed; and for the most, killed. Yes, Elantris has it all – in small doses. I felt the the message wasn’t focused on one strong topic, but just explained the characters’ lives in general. Because this is such an epic book and extensive in size, it doesn’t matter. It needs to have many subplots and messages to entertain along the way and the moral that lasted to the end was that love found its way back to each other, even after death.
Creatures & Environment
The fantasy element in this book is absolutely and unquestionably fantastic. The characters are well rounded and are consistent in their manners. The most invigorating is Princess Sarene’s feisty attitude that made me smile several times, maybe because I can relate to her character. You can feel the atmosphere in the story and how legends and myths blend together into the different hierarchies of the societies, as well as the importance of their faith.
Captivation & Continuity
Raoden, prince of Arelon, is cursed with the Reod and his body deformed during his stay within the city walls of Elantris. When his betrothed Princess Sarene of Teod hears of his death she does not avert from her duties. Instead she honours her late husband to ensure his father does not make a poorer job of caring for the kingdom’s people than he already has. And she is good at it. She is stubborn, clever and can play dumb if she needs to. I really enjoyed the plot, even though it evolved slowly and I particularly enjoyed the part when Raoden started to master the Dor, the magic within Elantris. The magic system had a well structured logic, where it wasn’t invincible or unlimited, which added to the suspense.
Language & Flow
There is a lot of talk of the politics of the world and hence doesn’t give leeway for much colourful language that I like to find in Epic Fantasies. This is not saying that there wasn’t any. It was almost a perfect blend of a simple language which helps when wanting to turn the pages and neatly described jargon. Some more imagination could have been placed into the descriptions however, which would have made for more entertainment when the stronghold of the alliances were discussed at depths.
T.M. Caruana’s The Shooting Star Award